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Vampyromorpha : Six Fiendish Tales of Doom and Horror...

A top-shelf offering, in the shape of Vampyromorpha's Hammond-soaked Trad Doom debut.

Well-traveled guitarist Fabian Schwarz, who has done short-term stints in numerous bands including Tyan Pace, Paradox, Stormlord, and Powerwolf, is now driving a project of his own: a rootsy heavy metal duo that channels the spirit of Deep Purple and '80s Black Sabbath through more recent musical filters, landing in a place not far from latterday Cathedral. Schwarz, joined by singer-organist Michael Imhof, released a short album in October 2015 under the name Vampyromorpha. Descriptively titled 'Six Fiendish Tales of Doom and Horror', the debut is utterly professional and well-practiced; showcasing Schwarz's laser-focused ear for the strengths of the genre, considerable songwriting acumen, and undeniable chemistry between the musical partners. It becomes clear on short order that this is a top-shelf offering, not a surprise given Schwarz's considerable experience, but something always welcome to hear.

'Six Fiendish Tales...' spends its Hammond-soaked thirty-four minutes hitting a lot of familiar touchstones, but reminding you just how delicious those buttons can be when pressed just right. In the first sixty seconds, opener 'Deliver Us From the Good' takes the listener from snappy guitar lick to full-heaviness and then into the precision-jackhammer verse, grabbing attention right away and keeping every second lively and energetic. It's unavoidable for other bands to come to mind; 'Deliver Us From the Good' evoke recent Spiritual Beggars, while later tracks like 'Metuschelach Life Cycle' rides with the momentum of sludge-era Cathedral's faster songs. 'Satan's Palace' rides high on some joyfully indulgent 80s-metal guitar harmonies, while 'Häxanhammer' is a merciless, stomping headbanger. Imhof's throaty yet tuneful voice usually strikes a Lee Dorrian-like tone, but he has plenty of versatility to show on this short album, almost creating the impression that Vampyromorpha have more than one singer.

The chemistry between Schwarz's no-meandering-allowed songwriting sensibility and Imhof's delivery makes 'Six Fiendish Tales...' packs a powerful punch without needing go to extremes. It is, of course, really damn heavy, but never flirts with Death Metal. For being a readily identifiable Doom album, the majority of time is spent at faster speeds, and it's not particularly angry, despairing, or melancholy. This is rock and roll spirit with heavy metal execution, heftier and harder-hitting than the average retro-rock band, hitting its uncomplicated mark with fist-clenching satisfaction. A pleasure to listen to, and a tour-de-force start for Vampyromorpha.

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Reviewer's rating: 7.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Deliver Us From The Good
2. Häxanhammer
3. Metuschelach Life Cycle
4. Satan's Palace
5. Bacchus
6. Peine Forte Et Dure

Bonus track - Limited CD only
I Am So Afraid (Fleetwood Mac cover)

Duration : Approx. 34 minutes

Visit the Vampyromorpha bandpage.

Reviewed on 2016-07-03 by Mark Rzeszutek
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